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Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups
Women's Independent Living Group
Type: Independent Living Group
Nickname: WILG
Address: 355 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Established: 1976
Size: 45;

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Women's Independent Living Group (WILG)

Women's Independent Living Group is one of the few all-women housing options at MIT. WILG was founded with the belief that a group of hard-working women can manage their own house, and we’ve been doing just that for over 35 years. For more information about the house, a virtual house tour, contact info, and a list of current members, please visit our website at

WILG's History

WILG was founded in 1976 after Dotty Bowe — a very important woman in the history of women at MIT — along with Elisabeth Drake '58 and former Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Nancy Wheatley '71, wrote a letter to MIT alumnae asking for their support of a new kind of living space for MIT women. The letter explained that while there were various places for women to live both on and off campus (McCormick, several co-ed dorms, and two co-ed fraternities), there was "no way that at this time women can choose to live together in a 'fraternity' or cooperative-type atmosphere. Women have wanted to do this, and that is why we are suggesting an independent living group for women." Soon after, Dean Wadleigh told Dotty of an apartment building located at 355 Massachusetts Avenue that could potentially house such a group. When the location was decided upon, the students and alumnae worked closely with the architects and contractors during construction to design a space that would foster a cooperative community atmosphere.

Taken from a membership article written and compiled by Erin Fitzgerald, WILG Alum Class of 2009.

The House

WILG's house is located in Central Square at 355 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge and is home to approximately 35-45 residents. The house is approximately 7 minutes walking distance to campus, or about 4 minutes biking distance. It is a 5-minute walk from the Central Square T stop on the Red Line and is located one block away from Shaw's supermarket.

WILG houses residents in fully-furnished singles and doubles that students often paint and decorate as they please, occasionally with murals or other artwork. The house also boasts four lounges, a spacious industrial-size kitchen, a regular-size kitchen recently remodeled with granite countertops, a back porch (shared with MIT fraternity Alpha Delta Phi, located next door), a computer room, a library, and a guest room. All of WILG's members live together in the house (with the exception of freshmen), making communal living an essential component of the group. Click here for a virtual tour of the house.

WILG members take pride in maintaining the house by working together through weekly kitchen and house cleaning jobs. In addition, WILG holds a work week each fall and a work day each spring, during which members work together to paint, clean, and fix up the house.

Dining at WILG

Home-cooked dinners are provided in the dining room Sunday through Friday, and dinner is an extremely social time at WILG. Cooking is optional; however, members who volunteer to cook meals are paid for their services. Often, girls choose to cook together. In addition to providing 6 dinners a week, members also have 24/7 access to open pantry food.


WILG holds a formal rush for two weeks at the beginning of the fall semester, and again for two weeks at the beginning of the spring semester. Formal rush includes nightly dinners and many rush events. In the past, rush events have included making homemade ice cream, trips to the Boston Harbor, outings to Berryline in Harvard Square, movie marathons on the house's 50" plasma TV, Cheesecake and A Cappella, and many more. In addition, WILG participates in informal rush throughout the semester. All members must go through either formal or informal rush to join. For the link to a calendar of rush events, please visit WILG's website.

Social Events

WILG holds at least one formal each semester. Past formals have included murder mystery dinners, plays, and outings to the North End. In addition, WILG holds a daytime retreat each fall and an overnight retreat each spring, as well as several mixers with other living groups and fraternities. WILG members also have many informal outings together. Attendance is not mandatory at social events.